Thursday, December 25, 2008

An Astrological Reason for Aspergers?

A fellow blogger Pink has discussed the Vaccine theory on her blog. One thing that I found interesting was her suggestion that Astrology is about as relevant.

I'm not a great believer in astrology at all but I'm willing to try anything - particularly during the holiday season.

I put my details in and was astounded by the results. No... I'm still not ready to believe but... wow... the results hit a nerve and IMHO, they show that any set of results can be twisted to fit a given situation.

If you want to give it a try, then here's the URL;
http://www.alabe.com/freechart/

The Report
Here's my report. I've highlighted some areas I found interesting.

Name: Gavin

Rising Sign is in 20 Degrees Virgo
You tend to be very shy and not very self-assertive. You are supercritical about how you appear to others. Even though you may think you are uninteresting and dull, you are actually quite soft- spoken, orderly, neat and very likable. You are a perfectionist with high standards, and at times you can be quite tactless in pointing out the faults of others. Very practical, efficient and purposeful, your appearance and bearing reflect your need to appear graceful, sensible and reserved. You have a crisp, no-nonsense approach to dealing with others. Never lazy or self-indulgent, you tend to be dedicated to the work ethic.

Sun is in 22 Degrees Cancer.
Very emotional and sensitive, you have an intuitive understanding of the "vibes" around you. You tend to be quite generous, giving, loving and caring, but only when your own needs for emotional support, love and security have been met. If they are not met, you tend to withdraw into yourself and become very insecure and selfish. Your home and family (especially your mother or the person who played that role for you early on) represent security for you and thus assume a larger-than-life importance. Very sentimental, you have vivid and long- enduring memories of the past. No matter how well adjusted you are, you will always need a secret quiet place of your own in order to feel at peace. Feeding others can give you great pleasure you would enjoy being part of a large family.

Moon is in 26 Degrees Cancer.
For the most part, you are very strong and secure emotionally. You intuitively know what to do to make others feel comfortable, loved, accepted and needed. You naturally enjoy feeding and taking care of others. Be careful that your mothering does not turn into smothering. At times, you tend to feel that those to whom you are attached can never do anything without your assistance and support. Extremely sensitive by nature, it hurts you deeply whenever anyone criticizes you. You have an almost desperate need to be loved and wanted and needed by everyone with whom you come into contact, and you go out of your way to be accommodating to them.

Mercury is in 13 Degrees Cancer.
Your emotions tend to rule your thought processes. You have difficulty seeing life objectively. You have an excellent memory, especially about things to which you have formed an emotional bond. You prefer ideas and thoughts that are known and familiar, and therefore tend to dislike fads or radical ideas. The beliefs and traditions of your family and culture are very important to you. Your thinking becomes quite unclear when you are emotionally shaken -- try not to make major decisions when you are upset. Let things calm down first.
Venus is in 08 Degrees Gemini.
You are friendly, warm, open and tolerant toward others. You love variety in relationships, indeed you may even prefer to maintain more than one relationship at a time! (that bit is definitely not me) Very witty and humorous, you have the ability to amuse and please others. This makes you quite popular. You love to play the field and thus find it difficult to settle down and make any deep emotional commitments. Your innate charm and vivacity makes you welcome most everywhere you go.

Mars is in 02 Degrees Sagittarius.
Your every action is motivated by high moral standards and ideals. You will work very hard to improve the lot of the world at large, but you demand action about it -- you do not like to just sit around and talk about doing it in an abstract manner. You like to be where the real action is. You resist mightily any attempts to limit your freedom and you will assist anyone who feels put down and restricted. You are extremely restless by nature -- physical exercise is very important to you if you would maintain your health. (uh...nope... not that one either)

Jupiter is in 29 Degrees Virgo.
You feel most expansive and at ease with yourself when you are doing something that you consider to be practical or useful. You enjoy being dutiful and carrying out responsibilities. You gladly take on the little tasks that others seem to want to avoid. At times, you carry things to extremes and feel guilty anytime you do something that you consider to be self-indulgent. While it is appropriate for you to demand little for yourself in life, try to loosen up once in a while -- go out on a fling and enjoy yourself!

Saturn is in 07 Degrees Taurus.
Complete freedom of choice makes you ill at ease. You must have a firm, ordered, secure foundation in your life in order to feel comfortable. You do not adapt easily and tend to fear the new and untried. You constantly fear that you do not have enough (love, property, material things, etc.) and this makes you tend toward being selfish, withdrawn and stingy. If you try to surround yourself with supportive people in your environment, you will become more emotionally self-supporting.

Uranus is in 00 Degrees Libra.
You, as well as your entire peer group, have a very free, unstable and unconventional approach to relationships and emotional commitments. You will be attracted to experiments in marriage and shared lifestyles. (nope... wrong again). Personal freedom is more important to you than entangling emotional bonds. In the realm of art and aesthetics, you are attracted to the bizarre, shocking and unusual.

Neptune is in 26 Degrees Scorpio.
You, and your entire generation, are extremely interested in anything deep and mysterious. You will explore and idealize the benefits that can accrue from the study of the occult, healing and psychology. You are willing to experiment with substances like drugs in order to push your understanding of your inner being to the extreme. (not really - though I did experiment with my son's Ritalin on myself because I wanted an answer).

Pluto is in 22 Degrees Virgo.
For your entire generation, this will be a time when profound changes in society's attitude toward work, duty and responsibility will be initiated. Radical changes in attitudes toward personal health and general nutrition will be promulgated and gain wide acceptance and practice.

N. Node is in 22 Degrees Pisces.
You're attracted to others who need your assistance. You seem to go out of your way to form relationships with those who are weak, sick, injured, addicted or troubled in some way or other. At your best you can indeed provide the relief that others need. But at times you can be victimized by those who would prey on your good nature and take advantage of you. This can lead to all sorts of negative situations -- make sure that those you assist are truly worthy of your time, energy and commitment. A little enlightened self-protectiveness on your part can make your life work much, much smoother!

and here's a picture....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Very Aspie Christmas

A Quick Thank-You
In all probability, this will be my last post before Christmas, possibly the last for the year so before I start, I'd just like to thank all of my readers and especially the people who left comments. Those comments helped steer this blog in different - and sometimes quite unexpected directions. Your input was greatly appreciated and has ensured that this years journey has been an interesting and relevant one.

The Christmas Pressures
There's a lot to be said for the social pressures of Christmas and in my family this has been a particular problem over the years. There is always a power struggle with my mother-in-law who feels that Christmas lunch is her exclusive domain. Even when, after years of struggling I gave up trying to share (every second year) and moved my immediate family permanently to boxing day, the pressure didn't cease - and this year is no exception.

The pressure may be coming from outside but I've noticed that over the years my wife and I are "short" with each other for most of December. That "outside" pressure certainly rubs off on the "inside" of our marriage.

This is an important point for me because I've noticed that although aspies are said to lack empathy, we're obviously not immune to this kind of pressure. The other thing that I've noticed is that we are sometimes emotional parrots. If someone smiles at us or is nice to us we tend to be nice to others around us. The same is true in reverse.

If you find yourself disagreeing a lot with your partner, it's worthwhile stopping to think about any external pressures which may be exerting themselves on the relationship or any negative feelings which you or they may be subconsciously reciprocating.

Those Overwhelming Christmas Social Events
The lead up to Christmas, and of course, the event itself is full of social events. Christmas parties, visiting relatives, long phone calls and worst of all, unexpected guests.

All of this can take a toll on the aspie who needs time to recharge his social batteries. This is especially true for children who suddenly have to share their bedrooms or even have to give up their beds for other guests.

An aspie who is feeling overwhelmed by social pressures needs to go somewhere "familiar" and private in order to calm down. For many aspies, this is probably their bedroom. As a parent, if your aspie is prone to meltdowns, you need to ensure that he has somewhere relatively isolated that he can retreat to if things seem to be overwhelming him. If you're staying away from home, it's a good idea to introduce him to the "quiet spot" as early as possible.

Christmas Foods
Christmas is full of snacky sugary foods which will tend to negatively affect concentration and sleep. If your aspie child is already quite talkative or otherwise worked up about his special interests, prepare for a major onslaught fueled by these foods and by any new gifts which may occur.

If your child's temperament is particularly affected by these sorts of foods, avoid them or keep a close eye on the levels of consumption.

Christmas Perception
The final thing I want to do is to end on a lighthearted note;

Here are a couple of perception things which I or other aspies (or children with learning difficulties) have said/experienced about Christmas;

  • Making a List
    When I was a child, my mother used to ask my sister and I to go through the toy catalogs and make a list of the things we'd like Santa to bring us. My sister would end up with only a couple of things but I'd quite literally end up with about 100 items on the list. What was funny was that we'd have visitors and they'd see my list and react with distaste. It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood how it could possibly be offensive.

  • A Short Life
    The child of a friend of ours was very upset one Easter. At first, we figured that it was ok for the child to be a little upset - after all, the events of Easter are quite horrific but then, somewhere between cries, the words "he was only a baby" came out. It took a few queries but eventually the real issue came out... He thought that Jesus had only been born a few months previously.

  • Just what I Always Wanted
    When my sister and I were little, we were trained by my mother to not give any clues if we didn't like a present or if we already had one. As an example; my mother said to say "ahh... Just what I always wanted". This quickly became a code-phrase between my sister and I to describe something that we hated. I think it caused my mother even more embarrassment because of the tone of voice we used to say it in.
An Article
Finally; there's an article from 2005 on Aspergers at Christmas time which you may want to read here. It's been reprinted quite a bit but it's still very relevant;

Asperger's Syndrome at Christmas Time
http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/12-7-2005-83416.asp
by Nellie Frances

Thank you all for reading and participating through 2008. Have a safe and happy Christmas and I look forward to communicating with you in 2009.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Great Series of Aspergers Videos

There's a whole wealth of information about Aspergers on YouTube but sometimes instead of a vast series of unconnected videos, it's nice to watch something that is about the same person.

I've only just noticed that Fiona, an aspie from New Zealand has posted an amazing series of clips which are even more fascinating when taken together than as individual videos.

Please have a look at her videos;
http://au.youtube.com/user/AspergersGirl

Shutdown: A Specific Type of Meltdown

I've talked quite a bit about meltdowns on this blog because they're so integral to the aspie condition but I really haven't given much attention to their poor cousin - the shutdown.

Technically, there aren't too many differences between meltdowns and shutdowns. Both are extreme reactions to everyday stimuli. Both tend to be the result of long term unresolved issues rather than the more obvious triggers and both are almost completely out of the control of the aspie rather than being used by children and adults as a means to an end - that would be either a tantrum or emotional blackmail.

Some aspies are more prone to meltdowns while others lean more towards the shutdown model. It's possible to do both but this depends greatly on the root cause of the problem.

I think that there's a bit of a personality component to the reaction with aspies who are more sure of themselves or more fiercely independent leaning towards meltdowns rather than shutdowns but again there's a wide variance depending upon the feelings brought on by the trigger. Some events can make even the most confident of aspies doubt themselves.

What Exactly is a Shutdown?
While a meltdown could be described as rage against a situation, a meltdown tends to be more of a retreat.

Behaviours which manifest during a shutdown include rolling oneself into a ball or foetal position, crawling under objects or lying face down or completely under the covers on a bed. Gaze avoidance tends to increase significantly during a shutdown and conversation is non-existent.

As with meltdowns, in a shutdown situation, the aspie may act irrationally or dangerously. Unlike a meltdown however, the harmful activities are almost always directed at oneself.

The aspie may attempt self harm and may even be suicidal. They may be more likely to take reckless risks such as walking along a busy road on a dark/rainy night.

Causes
As with meltdowns, the cause of a shutdown tends to be culmulative and the trigger may bear little resemblance to the actual problem.

The real problems associated with shutdowns tend to lean towards depression, lonliness poor self image and poor self worth.

In a small child, a shutdown may be triggered because of a simple breakfast issue (perhaps they were given something they don't like). In this case, the cause may actually have nothing to do with breakfast at all but rather it may be symptomatic of the child's frustration at not being able to make herself understood.

In an adult, shutdowns can result from extreme events such as losing a job or a marriage break-up but they can also have very small triggers which simply "remind" an aspie of a larger pain. Perhaps a small incident at work could provoke some long term insecurities and cause a retreat.

What Do Shutdowns Feel Like?
Since these are extremely rare for me, I'm probably not the best person to answer the question but I'll try.

For me, a shutdown will move my pain to the center of my focus and I'll start thinking "what if" and "if only" scenarios. These are always counter-productive because you can't change the past and they usually only make me feel entrapped by events.

I'm not so much of a foetal position person - I tend to collapse into a heap instead. During a shutdown, I'll generally not have any contact with anyone but I do still hear voices.

As a child I'd often try pathetic ways of self termination, like holding my breath or strangling myself. Note that I didn't do this as attention-seeking behaviour but instead would attempt it unannounced and in solitude. I'd also attempt self harm but usually only by banging my head or pummeling myself with my fists. I know quite a few aspies who have, and in many cases continue to, self harm using sharp instruments. As a parent or friend, you need to keep a close eye on these situations.

I think I've only had two shutdowns in my adult life and in both cases there was no danger during the actual shutdown period but afterward, when I was moving around, my behavior was reckless and could have been self-destructive (depending on chance factors).

The "Cure"
Like all aspergers things, there's not really a cure however self-respect goes a long way towards prevention. If you have children, it's very important to counter any negative messages they're receiving from others. If those negative messages are coming from teachers or family, then you may need to get involved yourself.

Unlike meltdowns, where it's best to leave the aspie alone but in a safe place, it's generally ok to talk in a soothing voice during a shutdown. Just make sure that you're careful what you say and keep things positive. The only thing to remember when soothing during a shutdown is that you're still dealing with a person on the spectrum. Don't try to force eye contact and don't touch without either being invited or being cautious to see the reaction frst.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Silent Scream

I had planned to move away from adult topics for a little while and concentrate on children's issues but the following comment provides such as good opportunity to explain an integral part of the aspie condition that I'll stay with the topic a little longer...

If you feel your wife's smile is like the warmth of the radiating sun (what a lucky woman) do you experience the need to show her that you feel that - in the moment, I mean? In one of your answers to the comments in Part 3 you wrote: "I feel that aspies have a greater strength of emotion than many NTs but that we often lack the means to show it (or we're "afraid" to show it). So where does the emotion go? And what is the fear about in showing it?

You've really hit the nail on the head here and I realise that I have probably left too much unsaid.

As I described in my post, even though aspies aren't all that great at reading facial expression, a simple smile from my wife is enough for her to express her love for me.

The trouble is that I can't do it. There is no "look" from me that I can give in response. Believe me, I've tried but it's as if my features are modeling clay and I can't find the shape. Any expression I give in response is more likely to be "scary" than loving.

I must therefore resort to words and again I've tried. After all, words are very much "my power", particularly the written variety. I try to express myself but my wife simply thinks that I'm waxing poetic. I can say all manner of "pretty things" but ultimately she either doesn't believe me or treats what I say as simply metaphor. My words end up meaning nothing compared to her simple smile. I've long since given up trying verbal expressions of love since I'm so clumsy at it and it as all the subtlety of a mime jumping and waving frantically for attention.

Writing
Where I do excel is in writing and I'll often use special occasions as an excuse to write a poem. My wife and I also write love letters occasionally and I find that these are very successful too. There's something more forgiving about writing; perhaps it's the fact that the little "reading voice" in your head is more able to manage the right tone or perhaps it's being able to re-read the text over and over again.

Whatever the reason, despite my successes, I still find that more than half my message is lost.
In fact, it's worth comparing this text to my last post. Much of what I've said here is actually there but the deeper meanings are buried perhaps too deep. Aspies tend to assume that everyone is a mind reader - and my posts are obviously no exception.

One interesting example was a poem I wrote to my wife when we were going out. We'd been going out for a number of years (on and off since our school days actually) and we were planning an overseas trip. Her parents weren't too keen on the idea believing that we should be married before such a trip. I, of course, had other ideas. As an aspie, I had everything meticulously planned out.

I wrote my wife a poem shortly before our departure. She loved it and read it out to her parents - and to mine. Not one of them twigged on the fact that the poem outlined my plans for the trip. I was stunned. In any case, less than a week after our arrival in Paris, we got engaged on top of the Eiffel Tower. To this day I still get the occasional ribbing about how her parents expected me to ask their permission - it was in the poem - and I was in the room when they both heard it.

Sometimes being an aspie is like shouting in a soundproofed room.

Prevention
Another thing that impacts greatly on the aspie's ability to communicate are the rules. Aspies have rules for everything. They generally develop by themselves and usually due to outside influences. What is important though is that that it's like a "mortal sin" for us to break them. The rules are developed over the course of years and among other things, they prevent aspies from repeatedly making the same social mistakes.

If you think of one of the first rules that your parents instill. "It's naughty/rude to point". This is a very important social rule which can save the aspie from embarrassment in their early years (and prevent them from being bashed up in adult years). Many aspies will generalise that rule over time and will instead nod their head or simply "refer" to an object without pointing. Somehow, it transcends the person and becomes a rule about everything. When that happens, it's almost unbreakable.

In my case, I've got rules about making personal remarks which made it almost impossible to tell my wife how beautiful I found her when we were going out. She'll often mention this in conversation and I'll find myself unable to explain to her why the rule simply couldn't be broken. Over the years, I've made a bit of headway and been able to stretch the boundaries but of course, saying these things for the first time ten to twenty years down the track is just a case of "too little, too late". It's impossible to explain to an NT exactly how much effort it is to break a rule. After all, my wife thinks nothing of breaking her own "rules" much to my annoyance.

Honesty and Absolutes
My wife breaks rules... or is it that she's simply less honest? No... it's neither. It's simply the way that NTs operate. An NT will say "I've had enough of that particular group of people, I'm just a sucker for punishment but.. no more... I'm not going back". Of course, one week later and their "rule" is forgotten and they go back to being punished.

An aspie by comparison will say... "sorry. this resturant has lost three points. It's out. We're not coming back here again". That's it, end of story. We never go back.

I've used two very different examples here because it shows that the NT won't even make a rule about the big things while an aspie will develop rules about the smallest things.

There's other aspects to honesty too. When asked a specific question (eg: Isn't this just the best day ever?), I'll consider it. If I think of a "better day", I'll say no. Romance doesn't deal in absolutes though. An NT male will "score points" by telling his girl that she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen but an aspie male will know that sunsets are rather pretty too.

We have the same feelings - perhaps even stronger than some of our NT counterparts but our expression is hamstrung by rules. There's just so many barriers to communciation that we can't get the message out.


Wider Repercussions
What these particular examples highlight is the distance between aspie and NT thinking. When my wife hears a song, she'll like the music and possibly the chorus. When I hear a song, I hear layers and layers of metaphor. A song can make me feel sad and in fact, as I've gone through life, I've picked up a wide variety of songs, all of which have special meanings and special memories. A simple tune can make me cry, even when a great loss doesn't.

Everything to aspies seems to have extra meanings but in order to get to those extra meanings, it all needs careful anaylsis. I might have to hear a song or read a poem ten or twenty times before I feel like I understand it. We don't get the same number of chances with conversation as a listener.

On the other side though, as a talker, there are just too many non-verbal things to manage and we don't seem to have control over any of them. Sure, I can control the words, but I can't match my tone, I can't control my facial expression and I've only got marginal control over my hand movements. It's only when I'm writing that I can control all of these things - and that's mainly because there's much less non-verbal stuff in writing.

The silent scream explains a lot of other aspie behaviour too. It's not just a silent scream of love. There's a silent scream for irritation, frustration and agony. It's only when that silent scream has gone on for too long - and it suddently errupts into shouts and rage that it gets noticed. Then the silent scream becomes a meltdown. If we could make ourselves heard and understood, then perhaps they could be avoided.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Finding Conversational Balance - Part 4: love in a restricted touch environment

Introduction
I've already highlighted some of the problems that aspies face in the area of touch, though I haven't yet covered the concept of love.

The fact is however that most relationships are based on love and that touch plays an important part in those relationships. This post is intended to look at some of the compromises and solutions that AS/NT couples can bring to the relationship in these areas.

Defining Love
A few years back, my wife and I were asked (separately) how we defined love. The answers we gave weren't the ones we expected.

My wife's answers all dealt with tangibles (or at least deliverables), such as hugs, kisses, presents, companionship, outings and commitment.

This was in stark contrast to my own answers which were all about feelings and perception. The example I gave was;

"when you look at someone and a simple smile from them carries the warmth of the sun. You find yourself basking in the sunshine of their smile and you feel that life can just pass you by because there's nothing more that you could possibly need that isn't already being conveyed."

At the time, my wife thought that I was waxing poetic and funnily enough I couldn't understand her feelings either. We both tried to argue and correct each other but there was no middle ground to be found.

I walked away from that conversation very depressed and perhaps a little scarred. I've gone over that conversation probably close to a thousand times since then and it's only really started to become clear to me as I write these posts.

I had wondered if I was seeing a male/female difference in perception but now I feel that it's all aspie/nt and that they're two sides of the same coin.

My wife was defining love in terms of what couples need to do to show their love for each other while I was defining it in terms of what it feels like. Both are valid but neither tells the whole story.

Loving Each Other
I'm going to leave my definition for now except to say that this is the feeling we should be striving to attain and that contrary to the public perception of aspies as emotionless robots, we are quite capable of feeling this way.

Loving each other is a much more difficult prospect because unlike simply basking in radiated love, this time we have to put some effort in - and it's not necessarily light work.

There are lots of things that aspies can do to show love;

Complimenting Your Partner
This is so difficult to do because aspies often don't notice "irrelevant" things like clothes. Even when we do notice things, its often for the wrong reasons. It might be a cool geometric pattern on a dress or it might be that the clothes resemble Padme's handmaidens from Star Wars. The "trick" is not only to tell your partner that they look amazing but also to mean it too.

There's a whole lot of problematic non-verbal stuff here too. For example; If your partner has a poor self-image, they probably won't believe you and your attempts at flattery will probably end in an arguement. Many aspies simply say nothing because it avoids the issue but if you don't put any effort into your relationship, it will dissolve.

Compliments need not always be about appearance and you should compliment on good choices, cleverness, art works and cooking as well. Just remember that to a woman, appearance counts for a lot.

From an NT point of view, there's no point in complimenting your aspie partner and hoping that they'll return the favour. They usually won't even notice that they are being complimented. You can help however by deliberately fishing for compliments. Ask your partner which dress is his favourite - and why.

Be Physical
I, like many aspies, probably have a bit of a reputation for being a distant. I've noticed how I sometimes put cousins into a confused state because I don't rush to hug people - and on the odd occasions that I do hug someone, they're usually quite surprised. It's ok to be like this with people outside your immediate family but it's definitely not ok to be like this to your partner.

Aspies generally dislike touch but it's usually only certain types of touch - and it's not all the time. We have good days and bad days. I'm not sure that it's a good idea to present your NT partner with a list of touch do's and don'ts. It may irritate them or leave them feeling unappreciated. There are other ways around the problem.

NT's don't have a problem with touch, in fact they like it and read a lot into it. An aspie partner could use this to teach their NT about the sorts of touch they do like.

Touch can mean a lot of things, not just stroking and cuddling. It can mean a friendly touch on the shoulder or butt as your partner walks by. It can mean a half-hug (sideways) in an emotional moment or while walking. It can mean hand or arm holding or touching your partners hair or face. Even a little rub on the back while they're sitting down watching TV can mean a lot.

If your NT touches you wrong, your first impulse is probably to push them away or to snap or say something to them. Instead, simply grab their hand and turn it into a form of touch that does agree with you. By doing this, you're not only preventing a disagreement in your marriage but you're also showing your partner things that you like.

Touch is a critical part of your relationship and the language of love. It should be part of adult relationship conversation.

Spontanety
Aspies don't like change, or more specifically, we don't like surprises. The problem is that often our NT counterparts feel that "surprising" them or "being spontaneous" is a part of love. There are ways around this problem. For aspies, it's worthwhile keeping a diary (at work or otherwise separated from your NT partner). At the beginning of the year mark (at semi-random intervals) things like flowers, card, night out, etc. You don't need to arrange things to happen on these specific days but they should serve as a reminder to you that some sort of display of affection is needed. For example, if your diary says flowers, then pick some up on the way home. It's much better than only buying flowers when your partner is angry with you. The same goes for other expressions of love, (like getting the kids minded while you go out for dinner). This satisfies your need for planning while still appearing spontaneous to your partner.

On the NT side, you should prepare your aspie for a night out and give an indication of what to wear, what time you'll be out and home etc.. and (obviously) what day. You don't have to go into the specifics of where you are going. This will still enable you to "surprise him" without generating a negative reaction.

Respect and Understanding
Love and understanding go together in all relationships but even more so in an NT/Aspie relationship. A discussion about how you feel can help couples to reach a better understanding of each other's motivations. Sometimes, if you are a bit embarrassed talking about feelings you might want to consider writing your partner a love letter. I blogged on this not that long ago.

You will each have faults and you'll each have up days and down days. These days shouldn't change your love for each other and they need to be met with understanding. Females crave listening and empathy during these times while males tend to prefer solitude. Aspies are generally more like males, which is why it is sometimes referred to as "extreme maleness".

Above all, you must always remember that despite their gender and conditions, all people are individuals and that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. To further confuse you, people change over time. Love only works when you work at it and when you keep changing dynamically as you and your partner grow.